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  1. #1
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    Africans selling African Beans

    About 30 years ago I was introduced to varietal beans through the small roaster in Fort Bragg, CA, Thanksgiving Coffee. They opened my eyes to the incredible range of tastes good beans can exhibit. My favorite quickly became Kenya AA. As I moved due to jobs, etc, I found that a cup the quality I had back then was becoming harder and harder to find. Here in the Las Vegas Valley really proper African coffees, Kenya, Ethiopian, Tanzanian are availble but almost always the individual character has been lost due to the blending done by the factory.

    It was then an incredibly wonderful surprise happened, Dangerous Grounds. Yes, Todd is a showman and yes, what he finds is so limited as to be unobtainable unless you have connections, but the show about Tanzania had a clue and it led me to OLAS, a small Melpitas, CA shop run by folks from East Africa with family ties to those farms.

    I am getting some of their Kenya AA and the very rare Tanzania AAA and I will post about the cupping once I have them.

  2. #2
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    Very interesting to know what you find.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robertlee View Post
    Here in the Las Vegas Valley really proper African coffees, Kenya, Ethiopian, Tanzanian are availble but almost always the individual character has been lost due to the blending done by the factory.

    It was then an incredibly wonderful surprise happened, Dangerous Grounds. Yes, Todd is a showman and yes, what he finds is so limited as to be unobtainable unless you have connections, but the show about Tanzania had a clue and it led me to OLAS, a small Melpitas, CA shop run by folks from East Africa with family ties to those farms.

    I am getting some of their Kenya AA and the very rare Tanzania AAA and I will post about the cupping once I have them.
    When you use the word 'factory' are you speaking of the coffee mills in the source country, or speaking of the roasters in your area?

    I'm not familiar w/ Dangerous Grounds or this person Todd, some of what I hear him say through you appears to be "marketing speak". I say that because I don't have ties to the families growing coffee, and yet am able to source very distinct lots of Ethiopian, Kenya, Tanzanian, etc. that are precise representations of what that coffee should be without being lost by the blending you speak of.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterjschmidt View Post
    When you use the word 'factory' are you speaking of the coffee mills in the source country, or speaking of the roasters in your area?

    I'm not familiar w/ Dangerous Grounds or this person Todd, some of what I hear him say through you appears to be "marketing speak". I say that because I don't have ties to the families growing coffee, and yet am able to source very distinct lots of Ethiopian, Kenya, Tanzanian, etc. that are precise representations of what that coffee should be without being lost by the blending you speak of.
    Todd owns La Columbe, people can say what they want about the show but no doubt he's one of the best roasters around. I have friends in Philly, his coffee is incredible. Other night the OP must be talking about the Tanzy show where he was sourcing Tanzania AAA and showed the scams that go on with AAA which I've heard/read about online as well. Lot's of places blend the greens with "some" AAA and then call the bag AAA and roasters/green buyers will buy and market as such (either not knowing, or knowing but not caring) and no way to really know after roasting b/c of bean changes during roasting. He showed how he tested some bags and not all were AAA, and would use a sifter that would let smaller beans drop but keep larger AAA beans. Whole bunch of beans and only like 5 or 6 AAA remained when he would sift. So he had the distribution center redo a bunch of bags, think it was like 140 bags? And run them through over and over, till he ended up with I think 7 bags of pure AAA Tanzy.

  5. #5
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    Ahah! It sounds like Todd knows what he's doing, then. Obviously, it's never good when people misrepresent the beans they are selling. Even though I personally don't care if the Tanz has larger beans or not, I'd like to know I'm getting what I'm paying for. That said, it underlies the importance of cupping samples and paying attention, since ultimately it's what's in the cup that matters. Which then begs the question, why should AAA be worth more if it's only the size of the beans that the AAA is referring to?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterjschmidt View Post
    Ahah! It sounds like Todd knows what he's doing, then. Obviously, it's never good when people misrepresent the beans they are selling. Even though I personally don't care if the Tanz has larger beans or not, I'd like to know I'm getting what I'm paying for. That said, it underlies the importance of cupping samples and paying attention, since ultimately it's what's in the cup that matters. Which then begs the question, why should AAA be worth more if it's only the size of the beans that the AAA is referring to?
    SPOT ON!! Better question Peter have you ever seen AAA Africans? I spoke to a friend yesterday and he asked the guy who runs his washing station in Rowanda about AAA's. His guy said they do not separate their AAA from the AA and that is just a grading they use at the station...not at the market.
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  7. #7
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    I have never seen or heard of AAA African coffees.

  8. #8
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    I can only speak to what I heard years ago(mid 90's), from a trader, but I was told Kenya does have AAA. It is their highest graded coffee.
    They do not export any though. So we cannot purchase it. It is consumed in Kenya by royalty and the wealthy. I know of know one even
    acquiring any through direct trade from origin. From previous posts here on this subject, I am now wondering if it is just a screen size question, or
    is it really a best cupping score through Q-graders etc? I never considered it to be a screen size = better coffee.
    Maybe I was wrong all the time! I guess that would not be the first time, nor the last!

 

 

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